Abstract：Since “Yu Huan’s intentional injury case”, the justifiable defense system has become the focus of academic and practical circles, especially discussion of the self-defense limit of justifiable defense, that is, how to explain “serious damage that clearly exceeds the necessary limit” in Paragraph 2 of Article 20 of the Criminal Law code. The majority view is that “clearly exceeding the necessary limit” and “causing serious damage” are the “limit of action” and the “limit of result” of justifiable defense, and these in turn, are considered as the excessive self-defense when the defensive action violates both the limit of action and the limit of result. Among them, “causing serious damage” means “serious injury or death”. Therefore, if the defensive action does not cause serious injury or death, it is impossible to establish excessive self-defense, but justifiable defense, which is the “rule of no excessive defense under serious injury”. However, in terms of the rationality of the “rule of no excessive defense under serious injury”, the relevant supporters have not given sufficient argument, and it seems that “serious damage equals serious injury or death” is self-evident. Accordingly, the academic circles of the country did not extend the system with further reflection on the “rule of no excessive defense under serious injury”. The research on the “rule of no excessive defense under serious injury” under this background can fill the theoretical gap of Chinese self-defense dogmatics to some extent.
In conclusion, the “rule of no excessive defense under serious injury” must be completely denied. Firstly, the “rule of no excessive defense under serious injury” reduces “serious injury” to “serious personal injury”. There is no echo in China’s Criminal Law and the implied value judgment that “priority should be given to the protection of body and life” is hardly established. Secondly, the “rule of no excessive defense under serious injury” is separated from the legal basis of justifiable defense. From the legal basis of justifiable defense, such as “dualism”, “subjective right theory”, “the defensibility of victim’s legal interest declines theory” recognized by the supporters of the “rule of no excessive defense under serious injury”, it can only be deduced that the limit of justifiable defense shall be “necessary”: as long as the act of defense is not “the most effective and moderate measure”. It is the excessive defense, regardless of whether it results in serious injury or death. Thirdly, the “rule of no excessive defense under serious injury” can lead to negative criminal policy effects. This rule excludes non-body and life legal interests such as freedom, property and dignity of infringers from the protection scope of Criminal Law, resulting in a large number of loopholes in the protection of legal interests of basic rights. This rule will also condone the abuse of private violence to some extent.
Based on the above reasons, the requirement of “serious damage” in justifiable defense shall be re-interpreted. Specifically, the “damage” in “serious damage” is not limited to “damage to the legal interests of body and life”, but includes all possible damage to personal legal interests caused by defensive actions, such as property, freedom, dignity, etc. This understanding of “damage” can protect the basic rights and legal interests of the infringer, and also accords with the provisions of “damage” in other provisions of Criminal Law. The “serious” in “serious damage” is “serious” in the sense of normative evaluation: as long as the damage caused by the defensive action is prohibited by the Criminal Law, it is “serious”; on the contrary, minor property loss and other damage consequences that are not included in the penalty are not “serious” damage. This interpretation of “serious” is not only consistent with the meaning of Paragraph 2 of Article 20 of the Criminal Law, but also can be found in the provision of Article 13. To sum up, the “serious damage” in the Criminal Law of the country shall be understood as follows: in terms of its scope, any personal legal interest damage caused by defensive action belongs to the “damage” in “serious damage”; in terms of its extent, if the damage caused by defensive action is prohibited by the Criminal Law, it is “serious”.